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Riverview teacher inks two book deals

Michael DiVittorio
| Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, 6:18 a.m.
Rachelle Dene Poth of Riverview Junior/Semior High School, talks about her recent solo book deal with Times 10 Publications Hack Learning. Lillian DeDomenic  |  For The Tribune Review
Rachelle Dene Poth of Riverview Junior/Semior High School, talks about her recent solo book deal with Times 10 Publications Hack Learning. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune Review

A Riverview High School teacher’s stories of success and failure in education will soon be known to the world through the power of print.

Rachelle Dene Poth recently inked two book deals with separate publishers.

Poth has been a Riverview teacher since the 1997-98 school year. She’s taught Spanish, French and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) courses.

She’s contributed to several books through the years, but these will be her first and second solo projects. Both contracts were signed in August.

“I get excited when I come to work in the morning,” said Poth, 46, of North Huntingdon. “I really wouldn’t be doing any of this if it were not for the students.”

Her first book, expected to be out in January, is called “uNconventional” and is a third in a series through publisher Times 10 Publications of Highland Heights, Ohio.

The book will detail her experience with traditional and innovative teaching techniques used to increase student learning, among other educational topics.

“The idea behind it is doing things that are not the traditional way of teaching — going about (it) in unconventional ways,” Poth said. “What are some different ways you can get students to create and learn that aren’t the past tried and true methods?”

For example, Poth got rid of the rows of desks in her classroom and split students into groups.

Poth started her own educational blog four years ago, rdene915.com.

“It was really just sharing ideas of what I was doing in the classroom as a foreign language teacher,” she said. “I started to think, ‘What would somebody who’s maybe just starting like to know?’”

Poth uses virtual reality and augmented reality technology in her Spanish classes.

“We can’t take you to Spain, but I can create a space or let you walk around with the viewers on and see what it looks like as if you were there,” she said.

Her second book is with EduMatch Publishing of Alexandria, Va. Its working title is “In Other Words … Quotes that Lead to Rethinking Education,” and it’s due out in March.

Each chapter will start with a quote tied to education.

“I like quotes a lot, and every time I read books I take notes,” Poth said. “A lot of what I write are the quotes. I had to do some presentations in the spring, and I was using quotes then and started thinking about them more.”

Her book also features some stories from friends, who may find the book a surprise.

“I had six or seven people send me messages on the side,” Poth said. “I still didn’t tell them what it was for. I just called it ‘Rachelle’s Writing Project.’ At that point, I didn’t know if this was certain. I knew that I wanted educator stories.”

Poth said one of her favorite educational books was “Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator” by Dave Burgess.

Poth’s other recent accomplishments include being named a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and receiving the 2018 President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award.

Each year, Microsoft selects innovative educators to share ideas, try new approaches and learn from each other as a global community dedicated to improving student outcomes through technology.

The gold award was given for her more than 500 hours of volunteer service, which were earned while serving as president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network.

Riverview High School Principal Eric Hewitt said he knew Poth would write books sooner or later.

“I’ve watched her grow from a Spanish teacher to (doing) cutting-edge instruction,” Hewitt said. “She’s taking all these things that are happening in education and she’s bringing it here. We are very lucky to have her.”

Both books will be available in paperback and on Amazon.com.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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